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Got back some first films; surprising results
Old 03-03-2007   #1
Jeremy Z
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Got back some first films; surprising results

Well, today I just picked up some processed film. They were test rolls from each of three cameras.

1) Yaschica Electro 35 GS (I've had this one for years)
2) Olympus XA (got it a few weeks ago)
3) Canonet GIII QL17

The film was all processed at the same place, by the same incompetent person. (scratched prints from dirty machine, dust on negs, etc)

Before going on, I should mention that I'm making the judgement from the scans that came on the photo CD. I'll make real enlargements later, when I get the darkroom set up.

But guess which one consistently gave the sharpest results? The Olympus XA. The Yashica's were sharp, but lacked contrast.

The Canon's were also close.

I don't know if the Yashica (an early one) has a multicoated lens, so the comparative lack of sharpness could be from more flare or less contrast.

At these smaller apertures, I would have thought the Canon & Yashica would have certainly pulled ahead.

But the XA had a couple aces up its sleeve:

1) hair trigger shutter reduces camera shake compared to the others
2) Multicoated Zuiko lens is fantastic

Please note that these are just initial observations, and I will have to wait until I see some bigger, proper B&W prints to know for sure.

Anyone else been surprised like this by the little XA? "Beating" much larger cameras, with excellent lenses, even though it should not be able to?
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Old 03-03-2007   #2
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No suprise there- the XA rocks. If I leave the house without a Leica, I'll have an XA in a pocket. Glad you are enjoying yours. It's worth getting an A11 or A16 flash for it, too. I almost always re-set the aperture down to f4 or f5.6 after switching the flash on- this gives you a dragged-shutter exposure for the background, and softens the flash in the foreground. XA rocks.
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Old 03-03-2007   #3
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Even with all his other design achievements with Olympus (and there are plenty, enough to make him the photography industry's equivalent of an elder rock star, albeit a sober one), the XA, to me, is an example of Mr. Maitani truly hitting his stride. An amazing combination of economy and clever engineering, the XA is deceptively "simple" from outward appearances, but thre's a ton of high engineering in that litttle package, from the front element backward. One of the two best non-AF pocketable 35s around.


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Old 03-05-2007   #4
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I've had mixed results with my Electro 35 collection. Both the G and GS are sharp, but the colors look a little old or dated. I can't explain it really. Maybe it's lens coatings. However, my GSN takes sharp color photos that seem brighter and more saturated. I hope to purchase an XA in the near future and see how it compares.
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Old 03-05-2007   #5
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The XA is great. More than 60 lpmm with that tiny lens.

Only things that bother me sometimes is lack of manual control and square aperture.

Roland.
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Old 03-05-2007   #6
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Thumbs up

The only thing "wrong" with the XA is that it's impossible to use "XA" as a mantra, as in "OMmmmmmmmmmmm".

Today, driving in to work, it was snowing ... heavily, but it was very small, fine flakes, and the wind was blowing. In the southeastern sky the sun was a small, pale disk visible behind a solid cloud of luminescent white. The traffic was at a crawl ... I whipped out the XA, set it to hyperfocal distance, set the aperture to f11, set the backlight compensation lever, powered the window down on the CR-V, and shot "blind" at the sun and a light standard. Have no idea what it will really look like, but it was exhilarating to make the shot, and at no time did I feel unsafe. The controls are easy to use ... shockingly so for such a tiny machine.

I bow to Maitani ... again.
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Old 03-05-2007   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trius
The only thing "wrong" with the XA is that it's impossible to use "XA" as a mantra, as in "OMmmmmmmmmmmm".

Today, driving in to work, it was snowing ... heavily, but it was very small, fine flakes, and the wind was blowing. In the southeastern sky the sun was a small, pale disk visible behind a solid cloud of luminescent white. The traffic was at a crawl ... I whipped out the XA, set it to hyperfocal distance, set the aperture to f11, set the backlight compensation lever, powered the window down on the CR-V, and shot "blind" at the sun and a light standard. Have no idea what it will really look like, but it was exhilarating to make the shot, and at no time did I feel unsafe. The controls are easy to use ... shockingly so for such a tiny machine.

I bow to Maitani ... again.
Of course you know, Trius, that you are now hereby obligated to present the results of this "inspired grab-shot" to the rest of us, be the results good or just so-so. Your written description is just too scrumptious to ignore here.


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Old 03-06-2007   #8
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Barrett: It will be done. Warning: Film was Superia 800... a great film, but a bit grainy for dreamy, diaphanous, swirly snow. I prolly have about 8-10 shots left on the roll, so I guess I'll have to hurry up and finish off the roll.

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Old 03-08-2007   #9
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I can'tcomment on the XA, but I do have an Electro 35, a Q17 GIII, and also a Yashica Lynx 5000. After shooting alot of rolls through these my impressions are: 1) Canon QL17: magnificent build quality, fantastic feel (how the camera becomes a part of you when shooting) and a great lens. I love to hold and shoot with this camera, 2) Electro 35: build quality and feel are ok, not fantastic, but it does have a great lens, possibly better than the canon, 3) Lynx 5000: better feel, better build, better lens than the electro, this camera takes fantastic photos, but the build quality and feel are a little below the Canon. If I had to choose just a lens, it would be the Lynx!
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Old 03-09-2007   #10
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I've noticed on my Electro that the lens is sharp, but not as contrasty as some of the newer ones. Mine is an early one and may not be multicoated. (does the "color" designation on the lens have any correlation to its coating?)

One thing I like about the Yashica Electro is the shutter release is smooth and non-stacking. We talk about stacking triggers in the gun world, where the pressure required to move it gets heavier and heavier the closer you get to the breaking point. The Yashica and XA are the kings in this area, with the Canon & Rollei being a distant 4th and 3rd. The Rollei's shutter release doesn't stack, it's just kind of a heavy, short stroke compared to the Yashica, and especially the Olympus.

I think the shutter release is the icing on this little camera. It was a great theory, and I really wonder why it was never used on other manual focusing cameras.
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Old 04-24-2007   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amateriat
Of course you know, Trius, that you are now hereby obligated to present the results of this "inspired grab-shot" to the rest of us, be the results good or just so-so. Your written description is just too scrumptious to ignore here.


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Done. http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...940#post539940
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Old 04-24-2007   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider
The XA is great. More than 60 lpmm with that tiny lens.

Only things that bother me sometimes is lack of manual control and square aperture.

Roland.
Roland,

If 60 lpmm is good, then what about the claimed 120 lppm for the Cintar of the Argus C4?

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Old 04-26-2007   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid
Roland,

If 60 lpmm is good, then what about the claimed 120 lppm for the Cintar of the Argus C4?

Raid
... but can we pocket the Argus C4 in jeans? I'd love to see someone try it
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Old 04-26-2007   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox
... but can we pocket the Argus C4 in jeans? I'd love to see someone try it
No, no, no...even if one could, the awful one-liners would never stop ("Is that an Argus in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" is the only one I can think of that's printable here).


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Old 04-26-2007   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Z

I think the shutter release is the icing on this little camera. It was a great theory, and I really wonder why it was never used on other manual focusing cameras.
Because the "your camera is useless when you run out of batteries" crowd would not like it.

I like this feature of the XA, as well. You are right, no other manually focusing RF has it, I think. The electromagnetic shutter release has, however, been a feature in Contax and Yashica SLR's since the RTS.
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Old 04-26-2007   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox
... but can we pocket the Argus C4 in jeans? I'd love to see someone try it
With some of the baggy jeans I see around here, you could probably put a 4x5 Speed Graphics in those pockets.
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Old 04-26-2007   #17
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Back in the days (stop me if you've heard this before) ... I was selling Compaq portable computers, the ones the shape and size of a large lunch pail, to Arrow Shirt in Kitchener. I tried to get them to upgrade by adding 3-1/4" floppy drives; after all, then the disks could fit in one's shirt pocket ...

The DP manager said, with a slight grin, "We're Arrow. We can make any size shirt pockets we want."

No luck on the extra margin on the sale.
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Old 04-26-2007   #18
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The XA's shutter release is a gift from the gods... I wish all my cameras had it!

I posted some full-sized (4000dpi) XA scans here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bensyve...7600136238427/

Scanning those shots made me fall in love with the XA all over again...
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Old 04-27-2007   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trius
... I whipped out the XA, set it to hyperfocal distance, set the aperture to f11, set the backlight compensation lever
Very nice shot, Earl. One of the things I find ingenious about the XA is how focus distance scale is marked by aperture and what I have always presumed to be hyperfocal distance settings by f/stop.
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Old 04-29-2007   #20
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I use the XA or the Minox GT for cases where a camera is better hidden than shown, but I enjoy the clunkers too. Quite often I use the XA for B&W and the GT for color; one in each pocket. Both are very small and light cameras with sharp lenses. I have also used for many years slide film with the GT. The exposure system was good enough for slow speed film like Velvia.

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Old 05-14-2007   #21
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I used to shoot an XA, and was constantly amazed at how sharp the lens was, but the vignetting started to really bother me. Eventually the electronics died, and I replaced it with a Minox GL. Similar silent shutter release, sharp lens and no vignetting. Of course I had to give up the rangefinder, but I always found myself moving the XA focus lever left,right,left right,left right, trying to pick out the rangefinder spot, and stop on the right point of the very short sweep of the lever. It was really difficult to pick out inside in low light, where I often seemed to end up using it.
I really liked the XA while I had it, and it returned amazing slides, but I didn't love it enough to replace it once I had tried the Minox.
When at long last the Minox GL failed, I replaced it with a GT with the exposure compensation and self timer, and if it ever fails I will replace it with another Minox. It's turned out to be my pefect camera.
My father has been shooting the same XA since 79 or 80. Thousandes of rolls troublefree. I'm harder on cameras. I probably killed mine by carrying it in my jeans pocket.
So am I the only one who sees the vignetting in many of these XA pics ?
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Old 05-14-2007   #22
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Oh, the XA definitely vignettes (or has light falloff, if we're being picky).

Personally, I love it, and it's one of the reasons why I shoot with the XA. I have other gear for when I need a totally even exposure.
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Old 05-14-2007   #23
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I guess we see pictures differently, I LOOOOOOOVE the vignetting from my XA, it always amazes me to see the vignetting in contrast with the sharp center

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Old 05-14-2007   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amateriat
No, no, no...even if one could, the awful one-liners would never stop ("Is that an Argus in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" is the only one I can think of that's printable here).


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you're right, it'll be a sticking point, no doubt about it ...
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Old 05-14-2007   #25
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I don't mind the vignetting so much under the right circumstances. At the time I wanted the perfect pocket camera, and almost had it. I still like to borrow my dad's once in a while, just to remind me how nice it is, and enjoy the astounding sharpness.
I do like some of the "Lomography" type cross-processed overly-artsy shots, but I am more of a true to nature, natural colour photographer myself.
Another camera that surprised me by being noticeably sharp like my XA, is a Rollei XF35. It looks and feels cheap, but that Sonnar 2.3/40 is a sharp lens. Too bad it's not pocketable like the XA or Minox.
I may yet end up with another XA, but I think I will go for the XA4 for the wide angle lens if I do. My Minox does what I need for now .
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Old 05-14-2007   #26
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I think the vignetting adds a touch of unreality that color (as opposed to b&w) photos otherwise lack. I love the XA vignetting on color pictures.
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